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Xfinity WiFi App wants permission to retrieve all running apps!?

Discussion in 'Android Apps & Games' started by kwalla, Dec 12, 2013.

  1. kwalla

    kwalla Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    The new update for the Xfinity WiFi app includes the permission to retrieve apps running on the phone!

    How can this possibly be needed?

    Sounds like someone at Xfinity wants to play NSA...

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  2. funkylogik

    funkylogik share the love peeps ;)

    Mail the dev. 9/10 when permissions are explained, you understand why theyre needed/helpful :)
    Rxpert83 likes this.
  3. kwalla

    kwalla Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    I did send an email.

    It's just the first time I've noticed that particular permission -- seems odd that an app Xfinity offers to connect to their free wifi hotspots... wants to know what other apps are running on my phone.

    Other things like being able to ID me and all that, sure, they need to know that I am an Xfinity customer.
  4. mplevy

    mplevy Android Expert

    Sounds like Time Warner wanting to read SMS/MMS for their account management app. I've now uninstalled it.
  5. kwalla

    kwalla Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    The reply I got is:

    Thank you for choosing Comcast, home of Customer Guarantee. My name is xxxxxxxx and I appreciate the time you spent to email us today. I am more than happy to assist you with your concern.

    I understand that you are prompted to the "Retrieve Running Apps" permission when downloading the Xfinity WiFi app. The permission you are referring to is android.permission.GET_TASKS and it allows an application to get information about the currently or recently running tasks: a thumbnail representation of the tasks, what activities are running in it, etc. The purpose of this app is to identify malicious apps running in the background.

    I apologize for the unpleasant experience you had recently with your Comcast service and thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. No worries, I have forwarded your comment and issue to the appropriate members of our development and management teams for further review and action. Our product team is constantly working on improving our services to make the best experience possible. We appreciate hearing your feedback.

    Sounds mighty weak to me... They get to see a thumbnail? What could they do if they happen to ID a bad app?
  6. mplevy

    mplevy Android Expert

    Why does their app want to identify malicious apps running in the background? Is the purpose of their app to act as a security app for your device?
  7. Goodspike

    Goodspike Android Expert

    Try the AppOpps Launcher app I just linked in this forum and then see what it doesn't do if it doesn't have that permission.
  8. Digital Controller

    Digital Controller The Real Bass Creator

    Make sure you have Android 4.3 or 4.4, not 4.2.2 or lower or 4.4.2.
  9. kwalla

    kwalla Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    The point of the app is.. well, Comcast has free hotspots here and there. The app is how you access them. I suppose they are saying the want to keep virus or whatever off Comcast's network.

    But.. given the state of malware on Android, that's pretty weak position to take.

    To do the searching to find the bad apps, they'd need to dump all the info into a database and have it linked to the user -- otherwise, what good would it be to know that a phone has malware, you need to know which phone. The "innocent" byproduct is having a list of all the non-malware apps people are using too.

    I had forgotten about App Opps. I do have have X version.. but am on 4.4.2, so don't know if it works or not.

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